PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 June 2013
Harriet Scott-Bolton is passionate about bees and the wax they provide for her handcrafted scented candles and luxury skincare.
And she is on a mission to make us aware of the benefits of beeswax – both for ourselves and the environment.
“The more I learn about bees, the more I am in awe of what wonderful creatures they are,” she says.
“They are just phenomenally clever and the wax we use in our products is exclusively from our hives, which are dotted around the Quantocks.”
The bee keeper is Harriet’s father-in-law, Richard, and beeswax from his hives is used for the candles - each one individually hand-poured on the small-holding which sits nestled next to West Somerset Railway’s historic station at Stogumer.
“I am originally from Devon but my husband’s family has been in the area for 60 years and Somerset is at the heart of our brand,” says Harriet, who is married to Jeremy and is expecting their first child.
“Shortly after founding the company I discovered I was pregnant so have been growing my brand new business at the same time.
“Our budget is small and we are growing organically, promoting ourselves locally and attracting people at various fairs and shows.
“We also have a band of already-loyal customers who purchase direct from my website. So far we have received extremely positive and complimentary feedback.”
For the Just Bee range, Harriet has access to some of the finest fragrances that her beloved countryside provides.
“The aromatic blends evoke memories of wind-swept moorlands, cider orchards and flower-dotted forests.
“The candles we have created are forged from a passion for the rural way of life.
“We’ve scoured the countryside to find and create the scents that reflect the true meaning of the countryside to us.”
The beehives are around West Somerset in 125 hives and Richard extracts both the honey and the wax, taking what the bees don’t need, before handing it over to Harriet.
“Beeswax is the cleanest, and most natural wax to burn,” she explains.
“We don’t add any harmful chemicals or paraffins, and we only use top-quality essential oils.
“The candles have a long burn time and smell so beautiful and you get that lovely caramel warm glow, which is completely different to soya waxes that most people use.
“The candles really help to make the air feel warmer, they cleanse the air of smells, and have a fresh, homely welcoming scent.
“I wanted to create a range that might evoke a memory of going for walk in the countryside or a summer’s evening.
“Honeysuckle is one of my favourite scents - I adore it.
“Rose and geranium is perfect if you are feeling a little bit blue or under the weather because it’s quite uplifting and it’s also quite a calming scent.
“So it’s good if you’ve had a rubbish day and want a bit of a lift!
“Heather and rose is almost like a perfume; you can almost imagine that being used as a fragrance and we also have wild bluebell.
“Interestingly, I find that men tend to like the wild fennel.
“But because they are made of beeswax the candles naturally have a honey scent to them as well so you get an undertone of honey that’s really warm and builds up to this lovely floral countryside scent.”
When creating the skin care range, Harriet’s intention was to produce a product that could be used by anyone.
A naturally-nourishing moisturiser, beeswax’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergenic, and germicidal antioxidant properties make it beneficial for wound healing.
“Bees wax and honey both seal moisture into the skin so you are not just layering your skin with a product that is only going to be washed away,” explains Harriet, whose products contain rosehip oil (skin rejuvenation, anti-wrinkle, regeneration) and sweet almond oil (anti-wrinkle, anti-inflammatory, softening, rejuvenation).
“People who have bought it are really surprised at the richness of the product.
“A friend of mine has been using it on her eczema and says it is really soothing and calming, which is wonderful to hear.
“What’s really important is that people appreciate the benefits of our products and enjoy them.
“I love getting feedback from customers who say our candles smell beautiful.
“I had an email from someone who said it’s the first candle that has not given her a headache.”
While most of Harriet’s customers so far are purchasing her products from the Just Bee website, Kew Gardens has recently placed an order, as has Kilver Court in Shepton Mallet.
“It’s early days but things seem to be gathering momentum,” she says.
“It’s been a good team effort – Richard Scott-Bolton has shared his vast knowledge of the bees and our families have been very supportive.
“Jeremy has been brilliant and we are both very passionate about bees and the environment.
“We would love to encourage people to get on board too by planting flowers that attract the bees because they do struggle and the world wouldn’t be the same place without them.” n
For more information call 07779 118249, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit justbeepure.co.uk